MacIver News Service | May 20, 2015[Madison, Wisc…] Emotionally and racially charged accusations highlighted the legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance (JFC) executive session on Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning.
Rep. Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield) became very passionate about the plan he authored with JFC co-chair Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) to reform some of Milwaukee’s worst public schools – many of which have less than 10 percent of students reading at grade level. The plan is a new idea that simply looks to help improve outcomes for some of the state’s failing schools, but Kooyenga was still berated by opponents much of the night for a multitude of reasons.
Much of the heated rhetoric aimed at Kooyenga and his fellow Republicans was from Sen. Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee). She accused him and Darling of considering themselves to be the “great white hope” for Milwaukee students. She also attacked the GOP for what she believed was insufficient funding for Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS).
Referencing republicans, Taylor said, “for years, individuals who sit on this committee, and in this building, have known that they have been raping the children of MPS.” She also signaled that a new requirement for students to pass a civics test before graduating high school was a new type of Jim Crow law.
Kooyenga didn’t let her comments go unchallenged, and the two sparred all night.
The committee passed the K-12 funding package at 1:30 am on Wednesday morning along part lines, which included a $200 million increase in public school funding, an expansion of school choice and the MPS reform plan.